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Kaká announces his retirement, wrapping an elite pro soccer career

Kaká told Brazilian outlet Globo.com Sunday, “I needed time to think and take a very calm decision, very calm and very aware of what I will want for my professional life. Then I asked some people very close to me — my parents, my brother, my girlfriend and my brother’s wife, there are five people — I asked them to pray.

“And studying, seeing what happened in this moment, proposals. I went to Europe to watch some games, to feel the emotion of the game there, where football really has its highest point. And very aware, I came to a conclusion that it’s time to end my career as a professional footballer.”

When he announced he would not sign another contract with Orlando City, Kaká mentioned many of his peers who made successful moves into directing and coaching roles. He admired those who took a year off to evaluate their best options.

Kaká told Globo he would need to follow that path, considering offers to work for the clubs where he played and learning what it takes to be a successful director before decided whether to take on that kind of work.

“I want to see and observe a little from afar,” he told Globo. “The fact that I’ve had successes as a professional footballer doesn’t mean that I will be a good director or not. So I want to prepare myself for this from now on, to study, to follow, to be closer to some clubs, principally those at which I played.”

Orlando City congratulated the Lions’ former captain on his retirement and reminded him he is always welcome in Orlando.

Kaká brought instant credibility to Orlando City when he joined the club in 2014 after previously being a FIFA World Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup champion. He played in three World Cups, won a UEFA Champions League title with Milan, won a FIFA Club World Cup and won Serie A (Italy) and La Liga (Spain) championships.

Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão posted on Twitter, “So my friend, now it’s official. What a beautiful career, how many joys, how many people inspired. I wanted to thank you so much for your football, for our 17 years of friendship and for join me in Orlando. I wish you the best in this new phase, always count on me.”

The club used its social media accounts to recap highlights of Kaká’s Orlando City career and stress he is, “Forever a Lion.”

He also was saluted for being one of 11 World Cup winners and one of just three Ballon d’Or winners to play in MLS.

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